24 August 2015
The release from prison of Mikalai Statkevich along with five other political prisoners in Belarus is greeted by the Socialist International, having campaigned consistently for his freedom and rights, as well as for those of all others unjustly detained for political reasons in Belarus.
Statkevich, leader of the SI-member Belarus Social Democratic Party (BSDP-NH), and an opposition presidential candidate in the elections of December 2010, has been held in prison since that time for taking part in peaceful pro-democracy protests against the authoritarian regime of President Lukashenko.
From the moment of his arrest, the Socialist International has been active in demanding his release, including holding meetings in January 2011 with the party, members of the press, legal, civil and human rights organisations in the Belarusian capital of Minsk in which the SI Secretary General, on behalf of the International, denounced the injustices of the regime and highlighted the support and solidarity of the Socialist International and its members worldwide for Statkevich and for all those struggling for democracy and human rights in Belarus. This engagement has continued unabated throughout the four years and eight months of his imprisonment with public statements, declarations of the organisation and by recognising and supporting the courageous campaign of his wife, Marina Adamovich, who has regularly been invited to address the Council and committee meetings of the SI on the situation facing Statkevich and other political prisoners in Belarus.
While welcoming the release of Statkevich and the other five political prisoners, the Socialist International firmly reiterates the need for the holding of free and fair elections and for true democracy in Belarus. Equally, the SI demands the immediate re-instatement of the political rights of Mikalai Statkevich and other opposition figures along with full respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all the citizens, and calls on the international community to remain uncompromising in its demand for true democratic governance in Belarus. The Socialist International will continue actively engaged in support of Mikalai Statkevich and the social democrats in Belarus until this is achieved.